Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Doctorandus Eric Johnston.
Eric defended his dissertation yesterday afternoon. He was told that one is supposed to pretend to be at least a little nervous but he had no trouble summoning up actual anxiety for the occasion. He wasn't really concerned about failing--your board is supposed to make sure you don't get as far as the defense without a good product--but it is possible to fail. And, more, the five-person examination committee is supposed to be tough on you. They don't call it a defense for nothing.
Eric's committee, however, spent two hours telling him that he'd done excellent work and encouraging him to publish the dissertation. I brought the kids to campus and met Eric for the post-defense champagne. His committee was very complimentary of Eric and there was much joking about how relieved I must be. I've heard horror stories about what wives of Ph.D students have had to endure but I can't really complain. But I am relieved.
Joseph is calling Eric "Dr. Daddy" but the committee was very emphatic that Eric is not to be called "Doctor" until the degree is conferred which, unfortunately, can't happen until October. CUA does not have summer graduations and Eric missed the spring deposit date by three days. He already had convinced his committee to put an extreme rush on the defense in order to finish this semester so getting those few days really was impossible. One of the professors decided that the proper title in the meantime is "Doctorandus" a Latin construction meaning "to be doctored." And Eric wants me to be sure to note that the above picture was taken this morning as he left to give a final exam to his students. He dressed up more nicely for the defense.